Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Last Supper

So there we were on Sunday night, having finally landed back in Sydney.

Robert and Jaki had spent 4 1/2 weeks in Sydney, Cairns, Port Douglas, McLaren Vale, the Barossa Valley, Hobart, Bay of Fires, Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Dunedin and Oamaru. They were spending their last night in Oz at North Sydney, and after so many adventures it seemed natural that we had to show off yet one more Sydney institution.

For their Last Supper here, we picked The Oaks. Anyone from Sydney will know, but for you others, The Oaks is a rambling, multi-bar hotel on the North Shore which is famous for the massive oak tree in the back where dozens of people sit around drinking and eating. And that's the second thing it is famous for - most people eating here cook their own dinner, flinging meat and potatoes they buy in the bar on the huge grills that are roaring in the back.

LK, Shirley and I got there ahead of Robert and Jaki and we staked out a spot near the tree. It was a lovely early-March night. Until Robert and Jaki arrived a few moments later.

Then it was a drizzly night pretty much typical of the Sydney weather they had encountered in their first week here during the Sydney Rainwater Festival. But we all decided we could maneuver the umbrellas to more or less keep the water off of us. And the rest of us decided we could put up with being wet.

We drank Elderton cabernet (except for LK, who of course was dealing with an amber alert). After a few rounds it seemed like a good time to put some chow on the wet table. In a sterling example of how 21st Century men are re-defining gender roles, Robert and I let the women do the cooking.

But to be honest, I think it had less to do with gender definition than that he and I had more red wine than a good chef should have. Which is to say that I am pretty sure LK preferred cooking it herself rather than risk whatever I may dish up.

Anyhow, the night was great fun. And despite four full-on weeks and thousands of kilometres travelling together, it was hard to believe our friends were flying home in the morning. But we felt this must be a most appropriate Aussie send-off to our Yank friends - celebrate their final night by drinking lots of wine and making them cook their own food and eat it in the pouring rain.

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